Queen Victoria

(b. 1819, r. 1837-d. 1901)

Born in 1819, Victoria was an only child of Edward, the Duke of Kent. In 1837, she ascended to the throne and became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. She was only 18 at this time, and the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, served as her educator in political decision-making. However, Victoria soon displayed her iron will, which allowed her to effectively rule by her own power. It was in June of 1840 that the Queen married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. They happily raised nine children, who were to become important figures in the major monarchial states of the 20th Century. Still, the Queen's loss of the Prince Consort in December of 1861 drove her into prolonged mourning and depression. Her policy-making seemed to change substantially from the time prior to Albert's death. However, this prolonged mourning kept her occupied for the rest of her life and played an important role in the evolution of what would become the Victorian mentality. Eventually Victoria became one of Great Britain's most popular and prominent monarchs. She was named Empress of India in 1876, which was an event that showed the interest of the Queen and Great Britain in world colonization, throughout the 19th Century. Victoria's long reign witnessed an evolution in English politics and the expansion of the British Empire, as well as political and social reform on the continent.  Queen Victoria died of natural causes in January of 1901.

Annotated Bibliography

Adams, Charles Francis. Studies Military and Diplomatic: 1775-1865. New York: MacMillan, 1911.
This book contains a lengthy chapter dealing with Queen Victoria's actions towards the American Civil War. The author notes that the Queen was terribly sullen and uninterested in the concerns of foreign affairs, since her husband died in December 1861, and the key years of the American Civil War occurred during this time of her mourning. Basically, the author mentions that the Queen was kept from most discussions concerning this matter, since her sanity was unstable at the time. Therefore, accounts are given of the ways that the Queen's officers handled Great Britain's policy towards the United States during this time.

Bailey, John. Some Political Ideas and Persons. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1922.
This book contains a rather lengthy chapter dealing with the life and times of Queen Victoria. Although the author notes that the Queen was not personally responsible for the societal changes occurring during her rein, he does imply that Victoria made a significant impact upon everyday life throughout the Victorian Era. Furthermore, the author uses her two most prominent roles as, as Queen and as a woman, in order to show how each played upon the other to create one of the greatest monarchs in Britain.

Benson, Arthur Christopher and Viscount Esher eds. The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence Between the Years 1837 and 1861 (Vols. I-III). New York: Longman's, Green, and Company, 1907.
These three volumes are of great interest to anyone who seeks a serious study of Queen Victoria's domestic, political, foreign relations, and personal policies. The three volumes, which consist of nearly 2000 pages, only cover Victoria's Reign from 1837 through 1861. It seems that the editors chose to research this time period because they wanted to concentrate on Victoria's policies made before the death of her husband in December 1861. However, much scholarly excellence has gone into the compilation of these three volumes, which are filled with a surplus of primary source material.

Benson, E.F. Queen Victoria's Daughters. New York: D. Appleton-Century, 1938.
The author of this book gives a brief account of Victoria's ascendance to the throne, and the pressures placed upon her from various relatives who wanted to chose her marriage partner. Also, this book provides excellent commentary on the Queen's relationship with her daughters. Her influence in their choice of marriage partners is an important part of the book. Also, the author uses primary and secondary sources dealing with Queen Victoria's daughters and their children.

Bolitho, Hector ed. Letters of Queen Victoria: From the Archives of the House of Brandenburg-Prussia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1938.
Queen Victoria's personal letters to family and friends are compiled in this book. The letters included range between the years of 1841 through 1889. Anyone who seriously seeks knowledge about the Queen's relations with her family could learn a great deal from reading this book. The author uses actual excerpts from the Queen's letters, and highlights their importance by also providing brief summaries of these letters.

Cecil, Algernon. Queen Victoria and Her Prime Ministers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1953.
This book offers an exhaustive account of the dealings between Queen Victoria and her ten Prime Ministers. It is the author's intention to show the affects that these Prime Ministers had on the Queen. Also, the book shows the ways in which the decisions made by the Queen and her Prime Ministers affected the intellectual, political, and social institutions throughout her reign. Overall, this book gives an excellent account of minute details that are important in understanding the Queen's relationship and policy-making with her Prime Ministers.

Cecil, David. Melbourne. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1954.
The author of this book cites the ways in which Lord Melbourne worked with Queen Victoria early in her ascendance to the throne. The book notes Victoria's strength of character, even though she was only 18 years old when she became Queen. However, the main point of the author is to show that Lord Melbourne sought to become one of Victoria's closest friends, so that better relations between the monarchy and government could occur under Victoria. Therefore, this book gives an excellent account of Victoria's education in political matters, which she received from Lord Melbourne.

Charlot, Monica. Victoria: The Young Queen. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1991.
The author presents an excellent scholarly work accurately depicting the life and times of Queen Victoria. This book goes into detail on each important segment and issue that arises during Queen Victoria's life. Charlot uses an abundance of accurate and varied sources to present and support her material.

Chesterton, G.K. Varied Types. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1909.
The account of Queen Victoria in this book seems to praise every aspect of the Queen's life. However, it also realistically cites many of her positive attributes, such as her political unselfishness, invention of the democratic monarchy, and an ability to be seen as an authority figure, who was above the social limitations of the government and the monarchy. This book serves as a good source because it lists personal accounts of a person who was greatly troubled by the Queen's death.

Connell, Brian. Regina vs. Palmerston: The Correspondence Between Queen Victoria and Her Foreign and Prime Minister 1837-1865. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1961.
The author of this book uses excerpts from the Palmerston Archives, and gives an personal account of events that transpired between Lord Palmerston and Queen Victoria. This book focuses on the years that Palmerston served as Great Britain's Foreign and Prime Minister during Victoria's Reign. Also, the book goes in depth in order to cover Victoria's plans for action in the Crimean War, Indian Mutiny, and the United States' Civil War. A major topic discussed in the book is the difference of opinions and beliefs expressed by Palmerston and Victoria.

Cullen, Tom. The Empress Brown: The True Story of a Victorian Scandal. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.
This book gives an in-depth account of Queen Victoria and John Brown's relations. While the topic of Brown and the Queen has intrigued many with scandals, the author strives to give an accurate and impartial account of the relationship between these two. This book covers the life of Queen Victoria from her ascent to the throne in 1837, until John Brown's death in March of 1883. Furthermore, the author makes professional use of excellent primary sources such as Sir Henry Ponsonby's letters about the Queen, which were addressed to his wife, and the papers of Victoria's Prime Minister Derby.

Duff, David. Victoria and Albert. New York: Taplinger Publishing, 1972.
This book tells the story of Queen Victoria's early life with Prince Albert. The underlying theme shows that Victoria was totally devoted to her husband. Topics that are covered in great detail include; the courtship of Albert and Victoria, their wedding on February 10, 1840, the birth of their first daughter, and the Queen's reaction to the Prince Consort's untimely death. Also, this book makes good use of primary sources. An example of this primary material is shown in the picture section of the book, between pages 64 and 65. In this section, the author provides a copy of an article from the London Gazette from November 23, 1839. This article offers an account of Victoria's announcement of her wedding plans.

Erickson, Carolly. Her Little Majesty: The Life of Queen Victoria. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
This book certainly takes a scholarly approach in giving a narrative of the complete life of Queen Victoria. The author seems to make the character of Queen Victoria come to life, while maintaining an historically account of her life. The numerous, relevant, and well-varied use of sources helps to substantiate the author's excellence in compiling this book.

Farwell, Byron. Queen Victoria's Little Wars. New York: Harper and Row, 1972.
This book gives a detailed account of the battles and wars conducted by Great Britain, during Queen Victoria's Reign from 1837 to 1901. Victoria's stance on each encounter is broadly described by the author. Also, the author tries to show the humanity portrayed by Victoria, in regard to her soldiers. Still, the author tends to focus a bit more on the details of each battle than the details of the Queen's intricate policies. However, it is still an excellent account of Queen Victoria and her role in war decisions.

Fulford, Roger ed. Dearest Child: Letters Between Queen Victoria and the Princess Royal. (1858-1861). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1964.
Dearest Child is a book written to display the personal correspondence between Queen Victoria and the Princess Royal. It is the author's intent to only cover the years of 1858 through 1861, at which point the book ends with Prince Albert's death. The author chose to avoid the much publicized events that may have been spoken about in these letters, so that the reader might focus on Victoria's accounts of her everyday life. Lastly, the author makes good use of primary source material through the incorporation of Queen Victoria's letters to the Empress Frederick and the Empress' replies.

Fulford, Roger ed. Dearest Mama: Letters Between Queen Victoria and the Crown Princess of Prussia (1861-1864). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1968.
First of all, this book gives an accurate and insightful account of Queen Victoria's influence on her descendants, who would later become the leading monarchs of foreign nations such as Germany, Russia, and many others. These letters reveal much personal information about the Queen and her interaction and correspondence with close family members. Also, the letters reveal the masked difference in the Queen's behavior after the loss of her husband in December of 1861. One of the most notable topics that her letters reveal is the Queen's manipulative influence upon her children, especially in their choices of marriage partners.

Hough, Richard ed. Advice to my Grand-daughter: Letters from Queen Victoria of Hesse. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1975.
The numerous letters contained in this book tend to highlight detailed information passed between the Queen and her granddaughter throughout their correspondence during 1870 and 1900. The Queen discusses plans for the marriage of the Princess. These plans show the Queen's deep emotional ties with her granddaughter, Princess Victoria.

Longford, Elizabeth. Queen Victoria: Born to Succeed. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.
This book is an excellent reworking of the material displayed by Lytton Stachey, who wrote a biography of Queen Victoria in 1921. Also, this book goes into detail on the Queen's life as wife to Prince Albert, mother of nine children, and ruler of a powerful Great Britain. Furthermore, the author's use of the Royal Archives has greatly aided her in compiling accurate and relevant information for this book.

McCarthy, Justin. A History of Our Own Times: From the Accession of Queen Victoria to the General Election of 1880 (Vols. I-III). New York: Harper and Brothers, 1897-1905.
The 1600+ pages that complete this work by Justin McCarthy basically cover Queen Victoria's life from her accession to the throne in 1837 through the General Election of 1880. Although this seems to intricately cover the life of the Queen in this period, the author does not list any sources for the information that he dispenses throughout the three volumes. However, one interesting chapter in Volume II deals with the Queen's attitude toward the confederacy during the US Civil War of 1861-1865.

Meacham, Jon and Daniel Pedersen. "Was Queen Victoria a Bastard?" Newsweek 24 July 1995, 56.
This article gives a commentary about the book entitled Queen Victoria's Gene, which was published in 1995. This book proposes the argument that Queen Victoria was an illegitimate child. They mention problems that could arise in the current monarchs' claim to the crown if the theory about Victoria's illegitimacy were true. However, the authors are only summing-up what the writers of the book have claimed. Therefore, one should read the book that they mention, in order to get a better understanding of this journal article.

Mitchell, Donald G. English Lands, Letters, and Kings: The Later Georges to Victoria. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907.
This book contains a brief chapter commenting on the life of Queen Victoria. It can be considered a primary source, since the author writes about one of the Queen's addresses to Parliament in 1897. Although this is only a brief part of Mitchell's book, the author describes the main relationships of the Queen with her family and Lord Melbourne.

Packard, Jerrold M. Farewell in Splendor: The Passing of Queen Victoria and Her Age. New York: Dutton, 1995.
This sizable story of Queen Victoria focuses solely on the last week of her life, and the week following her death. Much information and great details concerning the Queen's last actions in her final week of a glorious 63-year reign are displayed in this book. The author includes an excellent genealogy of Queen Victoria's descendants. Interestingly, this account of Queen Victoria includes excellent details on the funeral ceremonies of the Queen, which are generally overlooked in other books dealing with Queen Victoria.

Ponsonby, Frederick. Recollections of Three Reigns. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1952.
There are seven chapters in this book that deal with Sir Frederick Ponsonby's personal accounts of Queen Victoria. Serving as the Queen's Private Secretary, Ponsonby gives an accurate appraisal of the Queen's Reign throughout the last decade of her life. His accounts include the Queen's role in the Diamond Jubilee, her interaction with Minister Kitchener, and her involvement with the South African War. Many less important accounts also help to inform the reader about Victoria's normal, everyday life.

Ponsonby, Frederick. Side Lights on Queen Victoria. New York: Sears, 1930.
This book uses many different letters compiled by the author's father, and stored in the archives at Windsor, that deal with Queen Victoria's personal memories, and memories of her from her family and friends. Therefore, the book is rich in primary source material. Furthermore, this material is compiled to show the Queen's role and stance on important policies and events, such as the Shah of Persia's visit to England in 1873, the Irish University Bill of 1873, the Franchise Bill of 1874, etc...

Sitwell, Edith. Victoria of England. London: Faber and Faber, 1947.
The author chose to include an in-depth portrayal of the entire life of Queen Victoria. Each segment of her life is greatly displayed in the chapters used in the compilation of the text. However, the author chose to exclude the Queen's position towards all political policies and attitudes that arose throughout her reign. Therefore, the domestic role of Queen Victoria is the main focus of this book.

Strachey, Lytton. Queen Victoria. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1921.
Although this book contains certain dated material, it offers an accurate account of the entire life of Queen Victoria. It is important to note that the author incorporated many passages from the Greville Memoirs, held in the British Museum, which contain excellent sources of primary information dealing with the Queen. The chapter dealing with the Crimean War is interesting because it notes the Queen's personal accounts and involvement with this war.

Thompson, Dorothy. Queen Victoria: The Woman, the Monarchy, and the People. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990.
The author of this book seeks to offer a life story of Queen Victoria, based upon her actions as a legitimate woman leader of a major country during a time of excess female suppression and restriction from politics and power. Also, the author cites that the Queen's authority and willingness to maintain her role as wife and mother, both acted, although in much different ways, to strengthen the movement for women's rights. Furthermore, the book shows Victoria acting as a stabilizing factor of the British Monarchy. Finally, it is worthy to mention that the author based nearly all of her research on the research findings of others. Consequently, her material is mostly accurate, even though it was not directly compiled from the use of primary sources.

Tucker, Nicholas. "Swiss Cottage, Osborne House, Isle of Wight." History Today 19 September 1990, 62-63.
This brief journal article offers a commentary on the recreational activities that Queen Victoria pursued with her family at the Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight. The author uses parts of the Queen's personal letters to describe the Queen's feelings toward vacationing at this place. Also, the passage tells how Queen Victoria interacted with her husband and children at the Osborne House.

Weintraub, Stanley. Victoria: An Intimate Biography. New York: Truman Talley Books/E.P. Dutton, 1987.
Weintraub's 600+ page account of Queen Victoria's life is truly an exemplary model and work of scholarly excellence. Throughout the book, the author seeks to add new and truthful incite and accounts of the life of the Queen. Weintraub carefully selects relevant details and discards old ones that tend to be the product of previous authors' misconceptions or misconstrued facts about the Queen. The author also uses new medical knowledge and the Queen's own album consolatium, as just two examples of the new insights which he incorporates into the biography of Queen Victoria.

Woodham-Smith, Cecil. Queen Victoria: From Her Birth to the Death of the Prince Consort. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1972.
This book was compiled with the use of excellent primary resources. Private family papers were obtained from the Royal Family Archives at Windsor. Furthermore, the author gives an excellent account of the early life of Queen Victoria to the death of the Prince Consort. Sections of her life that are greatly detailed include her coronation and reaction to her husband's death in December of 1861.


"Queen Victoria." Victorian Station. 1999. http://www.victorianstation.com/queen.html October 20, 2005).  
This website contains basic biographical information about Queen Victoria.  It provides links to Crystal Palace Exhibition and Windsor Castle.  It should not be used for in-depth research; rather, as a source of background information.

“Queen Victoria.”  Spartacus. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRvictoria.htm (October 20, 2005).
This site contains the details of Queen Victoria’s life in biographical form.  It also describes certain events in her life, such as meetings and relationships.  It should be used as background information, since the site gives no author and is seemingly for high school age students.

“Queen Victoria.”  Biography from the official site of Queen Elizabeth II. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page118.asp (October 23, 2005).
The information from this source can be used for scholarly research.  The official page of Queen Elizabeth II, the biography is an excellent resource.  It also contains links to Victoria’s diary and information about the history of the monarchy.  However, since it is from Queen Elizabeth II’s site, it is somewhat biased and presents the positive points about Queen Victoria.

“Queen Victoria’s Empire.”  PBS Website.  http://www.pbs.org/empires/victoria/(October 23, 2005). 
This website contains excellent resources about Queen Victoria’s reign and empire.  There are links to scholarly essays and research information about Victoria.  However, it also has educational resources such as lesson plans and interactive games for students to play.  It would be a good source for teachers, but it also gives information that can be used for research papers.

“Queen Victoria.”  http://www.royalty.nu/Europe/England/Victoria.html( October 23, 2005).
This websites gives information about Queen Victoria’s relationship with her family and friends.  It has sections about Prince Albert and also about her children.  It contains countless links to information and sources, including videos, biographies, and other websites.

“Queen Victoria.”  BBC History http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/victoria_queen.shtml
(October 23, 2005).
This website gives information about Victoria’s life and her reign.  It is a slightly bias piece but mostly gives factual information.  It should be used as background information rather than scholarly research material.  


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URL: http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/victoria.html
Original Written by Tony Sebellin, 1998
Revised by
Karen Woods, 2000 November; Websites added by Ashley Grove, December 2005
Last Revision: 2006 February 20

Copyright © MM Prof. Pavlac
's Women's History Site
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